CTI-Housing Consumer Education Center – January 2013 Newlsetter ~ Code Violations ~ Fires~

Coats for Kids

Free coats are available now!!!

WHEN: Families can pick up coats every Wednesday from 1 PM to 4 PM starting November 14 and running through January 30, 2013.

WHERE:  430 Broadway Street in Lowell (Use rear entrance)

Those who need coats must be present.

For more information, please call 978-459-0551

REPORTING A HEALTH CODE VIOLATION

The City of Lowell’s health inspectors are responsible for investigating and enforcing the Health Code Laws.

Health Code violations include:

▪ Contaminated water

▪ Structural/Building repairs not completed by property owner (stairs, porches, windows, etc)

▪ Garbage and refuse

▪ Chemical hazards such as asbestos, lead, pesticides

▪ Mold and other indoor allergens

▪ Pests and disease carriers like mice, rats, bedbugs

▪ No heat or hot water

Be sure to include the following information when communicating with the Board of Health:

▪ Address where alleged violations occurred

▪ Property owner name. Address/phone number

▪ Your name/phone number

Description of the alleged violation. Please provide accurate information and state the reason you believe it is a violation of the Planning Code. If possible, please include supporting documentation such as photos, reference to relevant permits and Planning Code Sections.

▪ Describe the impact of the code violation.

▪ How long have you observed the violation; include dates if possible

▪ Include a description of your attempt to resolve the issue with the property owner.

▪ Have you filed a violation complaint with any other agency/department? If so, which ones and when? Have these agencies responded?

Your Responsibilities as Complainant

▪ When communicating with an inspector, make sure you document the conversation you have had noting whom you spoke with, time, date and details of the conversation.

▪ Obtain copies of all reports generated by the Inspector.

▪ Keep records regarding the issues you are reporting together in one place so that you may easily access them.

DO NOT WITHHOLD RENT. You must show that you have made every attempt to give the landlord reasonable opportunity to make repairs. If you opt to withhold rent while the issue is being addressed, you must first notify your landlord in writing that you are doing so and you must place those rent payments in an escrow account at a bank. If you are unable to access banking services, place those rent payments in a money order.

▪ If the result is that you must vacate the unit and move to another unit, you will have those funds set aside that will enable you to move.

What to do After You’ve been the Victim of a Fire

At the Scene of the Fire:

▪ Try to find out from the Fire Dept. (978-674-4588 in Lowell) or other city official (ex. Health Dept. 978-6744010 in Lowell) the severity of the fire. Can you move back in immediately? If not, can the officials estimate when you can return? How much damage was caused to your living space? How long will the utilities be turned off?

▪ The Red Cross (978-372-6871) may be present on the scene. Find out from Red Cross staff if they can put you up in a local hotel. If so, for how long? Find out what other services Red Cross can provide by way of clothing and food if needed. The Red Cross may be limited in how much they can help you.

Contact the landlord or property manager. Find out who the insurance adjustor is for the property. If repairs need to be made before you can move back in, try to find out how long it will take for the necessary repairs. The City will have to inspect the living space before you will be allowed back in.

▪ Contact any other family or friend who might be able to house you on a temporary basis.

In the Aftermath of the Fire

▪ If you have renters’ insurance, contact your carrier

▪ The City of Lowell sometimes provides agencies like Community Teamwork, Inc with funds to house homeless fire victims in hotels temporarily. You may contact the CTI Resource center at 978-459-0551 to see if funds are available. Funds are limited.

▪ You may be able to get a return on your rent for the month of the fire. You may also be able to get your security deposit returned.

▪ You may be eligible for up to $750 in relocation benefits through the landlord’s insurance company. The $750 can be used towards a downpayment on a new apartment. It can also be used to reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses for food, clothes, etc

The Lowell WISH Project (978-442-9474) may be able to provide emergency items and furniture.

▪ You may apply for emergency housing at your local public housing authority. Lowell Housing Authority is 978-937-3500.

If you have minor children, you might be eligible for shelter placement thru the Dept. of Transitional Assistance. In Lowell 978-446-2400. Bring a fire report with you., proof of income and family i.d.’s

 

 

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